National Carer Representative for the ACT

The National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum

The National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum (NMHCCF) is the combined national voice for consumers and carers participating in the development of mental health policy and sector development in Australia.

Through its membership, the NMHCCF gives mental health consumers and carers the opportunity to meet, form partnerships and be involved in the development and implementation of mental health reform.

To learn more about the NMHCCF you can visit their website.

You can contact the national carer representative by emailing

News from Janet Milford, your representative on the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum

Every month Janet provides the Mental Health Carers Voice program with informative updates from a wide ranging source of media. Janet also has a special interest in research developments around Schizophrenia, and so the Mental Health Carers Voice team have made a sub-section in Janet's updates for Current News About Schizophrenia.

September 2016

To get an update on mental health news from NMHCCF and Mental Health Australia and other organisations click here.  

August 2016 

To get an update on mental health news from NMHCCF and MH Australia and other organisations click here.

Community takes on caring for strangers experiencing MH issues

Geel is a small Belgian town near Antwerp. For over 700 years, residents of Geel have been accepting people with mental disorders, often very severe mental disorders, into their homes and caring for them. Patients who are called guests or boarders go to Geel and join households to share a life with people who can watch over them. Today, there are about 250 boarders in Geel. Read the story here.

Use and overuse of ECT

Professor John Read talks about use, overuse and unethical use of ECT (Electroconvulsive therapy) in treatment in the youtube clip here.

Break through closer on teen schizophrenia

A recent US study has identified a trigger of schizophrenia that could explain teen onset of the illness. A single gene called C4 was found to be present in high concentration, causing over-active "pruning" of brain cell connections during adolescence. This contributed to a higher than normal level of thinning of synapses and could explain symptoms such as decrease in grey matter and cognitive processing impairment. Medical professionals are excited about isolating the gene but recommend further study to investigate this complex issue. Click here 

25 Years Too Early: A story of physical health and mental illness

Shannon Heffernan writes the story of Andrea Cooke and Jeanette Hanson, two friends who were both diagnosed with schizophrenia and what can happen when preventative and community based services are closed. The story then analyses how physical health is negatively impacted in those diagnosed with mental illness. Click here to read the full article.  

Conversations Matter: resources for discussing suicide 
Conversations Matter is a website for the community to assist people in talking about suicide safely and with increased understanding. It discusses how important it is to talk about these issues and provides some helpful guides. Visit their website at

Schizophrenia Research Update: the results are in!

The purpose of the research conducted by Prof Shannon Weickert and colleagues was to see how stimulation of the oestrogen receptor might influence brain activity, memory and attention. The results, recently published in, Molecular Psychiatry, revealed that raloxifene, a drug used to treat cancer and osteoporosis, when taken alongside antipsychotic medication, stimulates brain activity and improved verbal memory, attention and processing speed in both men and women with schizophrenia.
Click here to read more. 

A new name for Schizophrenia?
Researchers into schizophrenia have called for the abolition of the term 'schizophrenia', in the hope of removing the stigma around the disorder and to create greater willingness by people with schizophrenia to pursue treatments. Read the full article here.

Spotting Schizophrenia
A new test, known as the EEG test, can improve prediction of whether a high-risk child will develop schizophrenia perhaps as much as 65-75 percent. The test takes about 15-20 minutes and is painless. More information about this developing research can be found by clicking here.

Schizophrenia and Dopamine

Click here for an article on the relationship between Schizophrenia and Dopamine and what this means for treatment options.

New beyondblue Quarterly out now

Click here for the latest news and research from beyondblue

Consequences of mental illness that nobody talks about

Click here to read an article about cognitive losses and mental illness.

Chris Summerville talks about mental illness and stigma

Click here to view a talk on recovery oriented practice and the huge barrier that stigma and prejudice has on the recovery process.

Scott Morrison cancels Federal Government's relationship counselling voucher program to direct money to frontline services

Scott Morrison confirmed the Stronger Relationships trial will end. Click here to read more.

Mental health program funding

The State Government is in discussions with local health districts across NSW to expand a pioneering mental health training and treatment program aimed at helping those living with complex personality disorders. Click here to continue reading.

Severe depression linked with inflammation in the brain

Clinical depression is associated with a 30% increase of inflammation in the brain, according to a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry. Click here to read more.

Nurses warn against closing mental health beds at Royal Hobart Hospital

Mental health advocates have criticised plans to close acute psychiatric beds at the Royal Hobart Hospital, warning it could expose other patients to violence. Click here to read more.

16th International Mental Health Conference

The 16th International Mental Health Conference will be held at the QT Hotel, Surfers Paradise from thursday 13 August to Friday 14 August 2015. Click here for more information.

TheMHS Conference 2015

TheMHS 2015 will be held in Canberra from Tuesday 25 - Friday 28 August. Click here for more information.

Then there was the time my date asked if I'd ever killed anyone - The Washington Post

An interesting article by Michael Hedrick, a 29 year old man who has schizophrenia. He talks of his illness and the stigma that surrounds it, and the reaction of people when he discloses that he has a mental illness. Click here to read the article.

Gray Matter Loss in Brain Due to Psychotic Episodes/Schizophrenia, Not From Medications

Results from a new study have been released by Yale University, showing that brain loss is most likely due to, or concurrent with, inflammation in the brain and closely associated with psychotic episodes. Click here for an article from

An independent commission on schizophrenia and psychosis

An independent inquiry into the state of care for people with schizophrenia and psychosis in England is calling for a radical overhaul of the system. Click here to read the article and for a link to the report, An Abandoned Illness.

The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Finland examines family's response to mental illness

Western Lapland psychotherapists include the families and the person with mental illness in their approach to treatment with great results. Click here for more information. 

Click here for the latest bulletin from the Schizophrenia Research Institute, headlines.

Double blow for SA's mentally ill

Pat Sutton is the National Carer Representative on the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum and has been a strong advocate for those with severe enduring mental illness and psychosocial disabilities. Click here to read a front page article from Indaily, Adelaide, using Pat's story to raise awareness on the issue of physical health and life expectancy for those with schizophrenia.

News From Your Representatives